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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Less gambling, fewer papers

Less gambling, fewer papers


Vendors say sales of sports newspapers are down and that some have ceased printing altogether following recent gambling bans


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A man reads one of the Kingdom's many sporting papers, which say they are suffering from a recent gambling ban.

LOCAL newspaper vendors say they have seen a dropoff in sales in the wake of last month's gambling ban, with fewer customers showing an interest in publications dedicated to local and international sports.

"I used to sell 20 sports newspapers per day, but now no one comes to buy them. I couldn't even give them away," said You Leakhena, 40, who sells newspapers near Wat Phnom. 

Although she agreed with Prime Minister Hun Sen's February 24 order that all the Kingdom's sports-betting outlets and slot-machine parlours cease operations, she said it was having a significant effect on her bottom line.

"It is good for our society, but it really impacts my business," she told the Post.

"I am worried about losing more customers."

Ny Srey, 25, a newspaper seller working near the Independence Monument, said that she had not even received sports newspapers since last week.

"I think they stopped printing because they are afraid of government

complaints that maybe their news is making more people gamble," she said.

"I regret it because I sold well with this newspaper."

While relaxing with friends in a cafe on Norodom Boulevard, Ly Sopheak, 22, said he spent 2,000 riels (US$0.48) a week on a local sports rag in order to keep track of the sport news prior to placing bets.

But he said that sports newspapers were now "useless" tohim now that the gambling ban was in force, and that he didn't have enough interest to read them otherwise.

"Not only newspaper sellers will lose income. I will also lose because I usually won a lot of money from football betting," he said.

"I could win $100 to $150 per month, although sometimes I also lost."

One source involved with a sports newspaper, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that printing had been stopped "temporarily" due to the sudden disappearance of sport-hungry punters.

"We have seen our readership decrease following the government order to close all games and sports betting," the source said, but added that printing could recommence soon if business again became profitable.

But Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said Thursday that the closure of sports newspapers was a rumour, confirming that "no newspaper companies" had yet stopped printing.

"I don't believe that when the gambling was banned newspaper sellers lost customers," Khieu Kanharith said.

"I don't know why it should impact newspaper sellers when the government closes Cambo Six or slot machines."

He added that the Ministry of Information would provide advance notice before the closure of any local newspaper or magazine.



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